From an upcoming post I wrote for Washington Square News. I feel like a dick for writing it. Considering how extreme the damage has become in my hometown.
I’m going to write about that right now. But for those of you who were left with power and cabinets full of provisions… maybe this will be enlightening.
‘For many, Hurricane weather brings about a ‘Mother-Goose’ Complex. Whether it’s reorganizing the emergency supplies once every hour or organizing a congregation of friends for the only game night since sophomore year; there’s always the select few with that instinctual need to cook superfluous amounts of out-of-a-can Chili and prepare endless stacks of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. But with the power still working (knock on wood) and the weather too peachy to peruse the farmer’s market, what can one possibly do in situations like these, when, all you have are several boxes of frozen hot pockets and two jars of peanut butter (one jar for each day, preferably)?
It might sound obvious, but by deconstructing particular meals you’re typically fond of, you become able to dissect the necessary ingredients for that specific dish, and through that, figure out what other food you could possibly substitute it in for.
Take Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Pop Tart Oatmeal, for example. Typically, oatmeal is served with a hefty serving of brown sugar and cinnamon and then something ridiculous, like raisins, or cranberries. But considering that both of those ingredients aren’t always around, especially when you figure you need them- you can substitute it in with those hurricane provisions… and it tastes great. Heat up some oatmeal with water on the stove and chop up a Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tart. Once the oatmeal is done cooking, sprinkle and mix in all the Pop Tart Bits. Mix it in a bit so the heat of the oatmeal starts to melt the Pop Tart Frosting, then, sprinkle some sea salt on top and dive on in. It’s salty and it’s sweet and brings childhood flair to the typically adulterated, sulky meal.
Now what about lunch and dinner? Well, sincerely, there you’re slightly in a rut, as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cans of tuna are usually the way to go, as they’re easy to prep without heat. Before the blackouts come, why not prepare some Peanut Butter Noodles to last you throughout the night? Consider it a step to the side of those pad thai noodles we’ve all come to grow and love. Heat up a batch of whatever kind of pasta you might have left over hiding in your cupboard. Then, take 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, 3 teaspoons of soy sauce, (if you have it) a teaspoon of sesame seed oil, then a tablespoon of honey or agave, and a couple shakes of chili or red pepper flakes. Mix the ingredients into a spicy, aromatic paste and pour your hot noodles on top. Stir it all together, enjoy. It’s really an all-in-one ordeal; sweet and spicy and savory all at once; the heat of it all sinks to the bottom of the stomach and keeps you smiling no matter how wet the bottom of your socks are from venturing out to the Hudson River Park when your parents told you not to.